Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
About Mozart (Courtesy of KidzWorld.com)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is considered one of the best, if not the best, classical composer. By the age of three Mozart was playing the piano like a pro. He then started learning the harpsichord and violin. By four he was writing his own music. Mozart even put on a concert when he was just six. Just like breathing, music obviously came naturally to him.
As a child Mozart toured Europe for three years with his dad and his sister, both talented musicians. He played for the rich, for royalty and for the public. Mozart's audience loved his blond curls, his shrill voice and his polite ways. As a teenager he mastered the piano and completed his first opera, La finta semplice (The Simple Pretense.) Mozart played all over Europe but often returned to his hometown of Salzburg, in Austria. As a young adult he began touring again but he was no longer a child wonder. Mozart still had talent and continued to write great music which he played for small audiences. He also began teaching to make ends meet. As a composer Mozart made very little money and wrote many letters to publishers, friends and even acquaintances for small loans.
It wasn't long before his wife became ill from not eating properly. Mozart also became sick. He didn't stop writing music though. One day Mozart was found at his desk unconscious. He was taken to bed but Mozart knew he was dying. He gave one of his students precise details about how his last work, Requiem, was to be completed. Shortly before his last breath, Mozart tried to sing parts of his last work. On December 5, 1791, Mozart said goodbye to his family, turned to face the wall and passed away. Mozart probably died of rheumatic fever, not poisoning like some people speculate.
Mozart's body was thrown into a pauper's grave in the churchyard of St. Mark in Vienna. When his wife, Constanze, returned with flowers a week later, she couldn't find his grave. Because Mozart died a poor man, his grave had been unmarked and his body unidentified.
About German Dance (courtesy of Wikipedia.org)
About Schlittenfahrt: This dance may have been written independently of the others, as it is very different in style. Schlittenfahrt means "Sleigh Ride"; the use of sleigh bells in the piece clearly emphasises this. Before the sleigh bells enter, there is a series of repeating phrases that pass between the trumpets, woodwind and violins. The topography of the dynamics of the tuned sleigh bells make the piece seem like a sleigh ride, as the dynamics rise and fall like a sleigh would over snow. This is followed by a beautiful but simple posthorn solo that gives a very peaceful and clear atmosphere to the piece, like a winter's day. The original repeating phrases then return, but end with a majestic fanfare from the trumpets that passes to the other instruments, then returns to the sleigh bells and posthorn solo again. The piece ends with a diminuendo of the posthorn solo
Hey! What's up with the "K." before every Mozart piece?
The Köchel-Verzeichnis is a complete, chronological catalogue of compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91), which was originally created by Ludwig von Köchel. It is abbreviated K. or KV. For example, Mozart's Requiem in D minor was, according to Köchel's counting, the 626th piece Mozart composed. Thus, the piece is designated K. 626 or KV 626. Köchel catalogue numbers are not only an attempt to establish a chronology of Mozart's works, but also provide a helpful shorthand to refer to them.